Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Seconds of Summer: #1 debut, One Direction and headling tours

5 Seconds of Summer’ self-titled album on Capitol Records has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 258,643 copies sold in its first week.

This release is the biggest debut by an Australian artist ever in the Soundscan era – and actually beats their own She Looks So Perfect EP, which sold 143,000 copies when it released in April. This release also becomes the biggest new artist debut of 2014.

Having already reached No.1 globally on iTunes in 76 countries, this full-length has sold more than 1.5 million units worldwide, while total single track sales in the U.S. have surpassed two million.

The band is special guests on the One Direction “Where We Are World Tour,” set to hit North America on Aug. 1. Additionally, the band announced today their 2015 “Rock Out With Your Socks Out Tour” that will take the band to amphitheaters and arenas in 30 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. The first-ever North American headlining tour, will kick off on July 17, 2015 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

Additional dates will be announced soon. Citi® cardmembers will have access to pre-sale tickets beginning Tuesday, August 5 at 10 a.m. local time through Citi's Private Pass Program. For complete pre-sale details, visit


August 1 Toronto, ONT Rogers Centre
August 2 Toronto, ONT Rogers Centre
August 4 East Rutherford, N.J. MetLife Stadium
August 5 East Rutherford, N.J. MetLife Stadium
August 7 Boston, Mass. Gillette Stadium
August 8 Boston, Mass. Gillette Stadium
August 9 Boston, Mass. Gillette Stadium
August 11 Washington, DC Nationals Park
August 13 Philadelphia, Pa. Lincoln Financial Field
August 14 Philadelphia, Pa. Lincoln Financial Field
August 16 Detroit, Mich. Ford Field
August 17 Detroit, Mich. Ford Field
August 19 Nashville, Tenn. LP Field
August 22 Houston, Texas Reliant Stadium
August 29 Chicago, Ill. Soldier Field
August 30 Chicago, Ill. Soldier Field
September 11 Los Angeles, Calif. Rose Bowl
September 12 Los Angeles, Calif. Rose Bowl
September 13 Los Angeles, Calif. Rose Bowl
September 16 Phoenix, Ariz. U. of Phoenix Stadium
September 19 El Paso, Texas Sun Bowl Stadium
September 21 San Antonio, Texas Alamodome
September 23 Tulsa, Okla. BOK Center
September 25 New Orleans, La. Mercedes-Benz Superdome
September 27 Charlotte, N.C. PNC Music Pavilion
September 28 Charlotte, N.C. PNC Music Pavilion
October 1 Atlanta, Ga. Georgia Dome
October 3 Tampa, Fl. Raymond James Stadium
October 5 Miami, Fl. Sun Life Stadium


November 13 Phoenix, Ariz. Ak-Chin Pavilion
November 15 Los Angeles, Calif. The Forum (SOLD OUT)
November 16 Los Angeles, Calif. The Forum


July 17 Las Vegas, Nev. Mandalay Bay Event Center
July 18 Chula Vista, Calif. Sleep Train Amphitheatre
July 20 Irvine, Calif. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
July 22 Mountain View, Calif. Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 24 Seattle, Wash. Key Arena
July 25 Vancouver, BC Pepsi Live At Rogers Arena
July 27 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
July 29 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
July 31 St. Paul, Minn. Xcel Energy Center
August 1 Tinley Park, Ill. First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre
August 4 Louisville, Ky. KFC Yum! Center
August 5 Atlanta, Ga. Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
August 7 Dallas, Texas Gexa Energy Pavilion
August 8 Houston, Texas Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
August 19 Auburn Hills, Mich. The Palace of Auburn Hills
August 21 Cleveland, Ohio Quicken Loans Arena
August 22 Noblesville, Ind. Klipsch Music Pavilion
August 23 Burgettstown, Pa. First Niagara Pavilion
August 25 Toronto, ONT Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
August 28 Mansfield, Mass. Xfinity Center
August 29 Hershey, Pa. Hershey Park Pavilion Stadium
August 30 Holmdel, N.J. PNC Bank Arts Center
September 1 Wantagh, N.Y. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
September 4 Camden, N.J. Susquehanna Bank Center
September 5 Hartford, Conn. Xfinity Theatre
September 6 Bristow, Va. Jiffy Lube Live
September 7 Virginia Beach, Va. Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
September 9 Charlotte, N.C. PNC Music Pavilion
September 12 Tampa, Fla. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
September 13 W. Palm Beach, Fla. Cruzan Amphitheatre

Jenny Lewis tour dates

California singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis' video for her new single, "Just One of the Guys" stars her actress friends Anne Hathaway, Brie Larson, Kristen Stewart, and Tennessee Thomas as her band, and marks Lewis' directorial debut. Watch it here:

"Just One of the Guys" is the first single from Lewis' new album The Voyager, in stores now.

Here are Lewis' current tour dates:

Aug 1 - Chicago, IL - Official Lollapalooza Aftershow @ Park West ***
Aug 2 - Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
Aug 3 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue ***
Aug 4 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
Aug 6 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
Aug 9 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern ****
Aug 10 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
Aug 12 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
Aug 14 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
Aug 15 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre *****
Aug 17 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
Aug 19 - Burnaby, CAN - Deer Lake Park *****
Aug 20 - Redman, WA - King County's Marymoore Park *****
Aug 21 - Troutdale, OR - McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater (SOLD OUT) *****
Oct 3-5 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival
Oct 10-12 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival
Oct 11-12 - Mexico City, Mexico - Corona Capital Music Festival
Oct 24-26 - Las Vegas, NV - Life is Beautiful Festival

* with Ray LaMontagne and The Bell Brigade
** with Ryan Adams and Dawes
*** with The Apache Relay
**** with La Sera
***** with Beck

My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way solo plans

Former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way will release his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien, on Sept. 30 via Warner Bros. Records. The new album will be available for pre-order at all digital retailers beginning Aug. 19.

Exclusive album bundles will also be available for pre-order on on the same date. Fans who pre-order the album will receive the track "No Shows" instantly as a free download. The music video for "No Shows" will also be released on Aug. 19. See below for the full track-listing.

Working with producer Doug McKean, Way knew immediately what he wanted Hesitant Alien to sound like. "I wanted to make the small things sound big," he says. "My intention was to make 100 percent uncompromised art, using the currently least radio-friendly instrument, the guitar. I knew there would be lots of fuzz pedals. I knew I would play Fender instruments. I knew I would look at who my guitar heroes were in art school, Mary Timony and Carrie Brownstein, and I drew a lot of influence from shoe-gaze and Britpop. I want the record to sonically galvanize people." Hesitant Alien was mixed by Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys).

Lyrically, Way wrote about what he knew at the time, "which was struggle, beginnings, finding a newness in the mundane and the abstract," he says. "I looked to the Britpop poets like Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn, drawing upon every day life. I also experimented with the abstract, and looked at Frank Black's work both with the Pixies, and as a solo artist. There was no concept and no call-to-arms."

Fans will get their first listen to some of the songs on Hesitant Alien when Way performs his first solo shows at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England. He will perform at Reading on Aug. 22 and at Leeds on Aug. 23. 

Track listing:

Action Cat
No Shows
Casting Shadows
Zero Zero
Drugstore Perfume
Get The Gang Together
How's It Going To Be
Maya The Psychic

Kasabian readies album, tour for the States

Kasabian, who recently closed out the world’s largest music festival playing to 100,000 people at Glastonbury in the UK, are set to being their live show to North America this fall.

The tour leads into the release of their latest album, 48:13, on Harvest Records on Oct. 7.

In the UK, Europe and multiple other countries 48:13 provided the English 5-piece with their fourth consecutive #1 album. It consists of 13 tracks, accumulating to a total running time of 48 minutes and 13 seconds. First U.S. radio single is “Eez-eh,” with the video directed by the acclaimed artist/designer Aitor Throup, who is creative director on the album.  

Track listing:


2. bumblebeee
3. stevie

4. (mortis)

5. doomsday

6. treat

7. glass

8. explodes

9. (levitation)
10. clouds

11. eez-eh

12. bow

13. s.p.s.

U.S. Tour dates: 

26 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
27 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5
28 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
30 - Toronto, Ontario @ Sound Academy

1 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
3 - Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
4 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
6 - Oakland, CA @ The Fox Theater
8 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
9 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

12 - Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Music Festival

Big Star's '#1 Record' and 'Radio City' get reissued

Stax Records will reissue Big Star's #1 Record and Radio City on Sept. 2.

Both releases, which have been out of print as individual CDs in the U.S. for many years, will be remastered from the original analog tape sources. They will be available digitally in standard, Mastered-for-iTunes and 24-bit high-resolution audio. LPs of the two albums are presently in print via Stax Records. Liner notes by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills (a vocal fan of Big Star, as well as a core musician on the “Big Star’s Third” concert series) will accompany the releases.

Big Star, considered to be among the founders of power pop, has been cited as an influence by many of the major alternative bands of the ’80s and ’90s, and continues to be a powerful presence in today’s musical landscape. Artists such as R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub, The Replacements (who famously penned the song “Alex Chilton”) and Wilco all enthusiastically tout the artistic impact of the group. Mike Mills recalls Big Star as “a band who had gotten it right, who made records that sounded like rock and roll bands should sound. A band who wrote all the songs, from flat-out rockers to achingly beautiful ballads that were still somehow rock songs.”

The Memphis band formed in 1971, with a lineup of singer/songwriters Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel. Heavily inspired by the British Invasion, Chilton and Bell drew on the Lennon/McCartney style of collaborative songwriting to create their debut — Chilton taking a visceral approach, often laying down guitar and vocal tracks in one take, while Bell added polish with overdubs and harmonies. Ardent Records founder John Fry engineered the album in his studio and released #1 Record on his Stax-distributed label in 1972 to sweeping critical success.

In the fall of 1973, following the departure of Chris Bell, the band regrouped and began work on album number two with Alex Chilton at the helm and Fry once again behind the console. Losing the creative input of a major talent such as Bell could have wreaked havoc on the band’s progress, however, Chilton was able to use this opportunity to shine, and prove himself to be an incredible songwriter on his own. Journalists and fans agreed: bearing another tongue-in-cheek title, Radio City garnered rave reviews and produced several cult favorites, including “September Gurls,” which has been covered by everyone from The Bangles to Superdrag.

The legacies of #1 Record and Radio City have far exceeded the original commercial letdowns of both albums, which are now considered to be milestones in the history of rock by critics and musicians alike. The two LPs made it onto Rolling Stone’s 500 “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists, while tracks from each album (“Thirteen” and “September Gurls”) are also among the magazine’s 500 “Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Numerous artists (Elliot Smith, Beck and Jeff Buckley to name a few) have recorded covers of the band’s songs. Big Star has been honored with a tribute record (Big Star Small World, 2006) a documentary (2012’s Nothing Can Hurt Me) and a touring live show, “Big Star’s Third,” which features the sole-surviving original member of the band, Jody Stephens, on drums, guest vocalists, a chamber orchestra and a core band including Mike Mills, Chris Stamey of The dB’s, The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and others. The ever-changing ensemble performs Big Star’s album Third/Sister Lovers, as well as favorites from the first two records.

Of the reissues, Stephens says, “Very glad to see these two coming out with the sonic approval of John Fry. Grateful for Chris, Andy and Alex and for Jon and Ken. The music’s journey continues.”

Fry adds, “All I can say is that these were the best projects I have ever worked with and the best artists and friends I have ever had the pleasure to know. I love the music and the cast of characters: Chris, Alex Andy and Jody. I think fans will be pleased by the sound and the packaging. They may have to turn the volume up a bit, since we did not want to remove the analog dynamic range. Sit back and enjoy the definitive digital versions of #1 Record and Radio City, two of my three favorite albums.”

The band’s enduring legacy can be attributed to many factors, but perhaps Mike Mills summarizes it best: “Songwriting has always been, for me, the most vital gauge of a band’s quality, and these guys were clearly masters ... [Big Star] gave you something satisfying to listen to, no matter how many times you heard them.”

Album Track Listings:

#1 Record

1. Feel 3:34
2. The Ballad of El Goodo 4:21
3. In the Street 2:55
4. Thirteen 2:34
5. Don’t Lie to Me 3:07
6. The India Song 2:20
7. When My Baby’s Beside Me 3:23
8. My Life Is Right 3:08
9. Give Me Another Chance 3:27
10. Try Again 3:31
11. Watch the Sunrise 3:45
12. ST100/6 0:57

Radio City

1. O My Soul 5:40
2. Life Is White 3:19
3. Way Out West 2:50
4. What’s Going Ahn 2:40
5. You Get What You Deserve 3:08
6. Mod Lang 2:45
7. Back of a Car 2:46
8. Daisy Glaze 3:49
9. She’s a Mover 3:12
10. September Gurls 2:49
11. Morpha Too 1:28
12. I’m in Love With a Girl 1:48

Big Star’s Third Tour Dates:

August 22 CARRBORO, NC Cat’s Cradle
August 23: WASHINGTON, DC 9:30 Club
August 31: SEATTLE, WA Bumbershoot Festiva
September 27: LOS ANGELES, CA Wilshire Ebell Thetre (benefit for the Wild Honey Foundation)

Relient K fall tour dates

photo by Corynne Hogan
Relient K's “Mmhmm 10th Anniversary Tour” will begin in October. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 1 through Ticketmaster.

Third CD, Mmhmm, debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and later went gold. It features two Top 40 Christian hits including “Be My Escape” and "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been."

Last year Relient K released Collapsible Lung, their first studio album in four years. The digital only release debuted in the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart. This was the first time the Grammy-nominated band released a studio project in digital form only, and the album also debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes overall album chart.

Tour dates:

10/30/14 Louisville, KY Mercury Ballroom
10/31/14 Cincinnati, OH Bogarts
11/01/14 Chicago, IL House of Blues
11/02/14 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
11/04/14 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
11/05/14 Salt Lake City, UT Complex
11/07/14 Seattle, WA Neptune
11/08/14 Portland, OR Roseland
11/09/14 Sacramento, CA Assembly
11/11/14 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
11/12/14 West Hollywood, CA House of Blues
11/13/14 San Diego, CA House of Blues
11/14/14 Pomona, CA Glasshouse
11/15/14 Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock
11/16/14 Phoenix, AZ Nile Theater
11/18/14 Tulsa, OK Cain’s
11/19/14 Dallas, TX House of Blues
11/20/14 Austin, TX Emo’s
11/21/14 Houston, TX House of Blues
11/22/14 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
11/24/14 Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live
11/25/14 Orlando, FL House of Blues
11/26/14 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
11/28/14 Charlotte, NC Fillmore
11/29/14 Saxapahaw, NC Haw River Ballroom
11/30/14 Silver Spring, MD Fillmore
12/02/14 Philadelphia, PA TLA
12/03/14 Boston, MA Paradise
12/04/14 New York, NY Gramercy
12/05/14 Pittsburgh, PA Altar Bar
12/06/14 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
12/09/14 Grand Rapids, MI Intersection
12/10/14 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
12/11/14 Indianapolis, IN Deluxe
12/12/14 Nashville, TN Cannery Ballroom

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Cult concert review: Riverside, Calif.

Billy Duffy makes it all look so effortless.

On Saturday night, the founding guitarist for The Cult occasionally held his guitar aloft while casually playing some of the more memorable riffs in alternative and hard rock history. Even more impressive was the fact that it was done without your typical clich├ęd axe man posturing or grimacing.

Held at the historic Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, California - the 75-minute gig marked a rare area performance for the veteran English band. The floor section was almost filled. This was my first time experiencing an A-level act at 86-year-old venue following a recent sonic upgrade. I thought the sound quality was exceptional.

Longtime enthusiasts know that Ian Astbury can often be hit or miss in concert: will he go off on a rant? Will he clip lyrical phrases and just yelp? Here, the front man did relay a disdain for technology and took a few vocal shortcuts at the very end, but was basically in good form.

Sporting black leather jacket and shades, Astbury and company kicked things off with the haunting “Rain” and Duffy’s chugging guitar led the way.

For the quick-paced “Spiritwalker” (off the band’s debut 1984 LP Dreamtime), some clarion call effects on Duffy’s trademark Gretsch White Falcon guitar made it an early standout.  A thunderous “Honey from a Knife” (key refrain: “we got the drugs in here”) was the first of three selections played from 2012’s solid, underrated Choice of Weapon. Word is they will be recording new material in the near future.

Lean ‘n’ mean riff rocker “Lil’ Devil” got the crowd all riled up; one fan in front even waved crutches in the air. A dense, grungy “The Witch" saw Astbury mumble something about “honky tonk transvestites” before he wildly shook maracas and Duffy navigated the squelching guitar.

Remarking that everyone looked like university students (the Muni is only a few miles from UC Riverside) when in fact this was an older-skewing crowd including many biker types, Astbury’s thoughtful side came to the fore during the slower, dramatic “Embers.”  

Before the intense, circuitous rock thrust of “Lucifer” (about the devil, a favorite topic), Astbury quipped, “Imagine: people that can really play their instruments! All those high-priced DJs do is put in a flash drive. No talent. You deserve better.”   

Duffy got in some nifty windmill motions on “Rise.” Other absorbing songs included radio hits “Sweet Soul Sister,” the stomping “Wildflower” and main set closer “Love Removal Machine.”

Come encore time, “She Sells Sanctuary” (a song which many, this writer included, consider The Cult’s finest moment) still packed a mighty wallop after all these years.

Next: Aug. 2 - Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, South Dakota